We have been all over the globe, and this was easily one of the best experiences of our lives. Highly recommended.
I cruised with my pregnant wife (20 weeks), and my 80 year old parents (it was Dad's birthday). My wife and I have only cruised on "adventure' itineraries like 140 sailboats to exotic locations. My folks have cruised mostly in the caribbean, but have done a month long repositioning to Alaska through the Panama Canal. To be honest, I was wary about a big boat cruise, but it was the only thing suited for both my parents and for us (pregnant!). I was also wary because I ready many reviews of ships before booking, and you can get spooked by some of the negative reviews. I'll say that pleasing all of us was a tall task, as each of us had our own criteria to satisfy. My parents were interested in the entertainment and food; my wife and were more concerned with the ports, fitness facilities, and hot tub/ pool areas.
We were bowled over. What a great trip. We will always be thankful to the Splendour of the Seas for making our "babymoon" and my father's 80th so wonderful. Here is a quick review:
Cabins: the cabins were large and well decorated. Nice water pressure and temperature. Everything looking new, which is amazing for a ship that was built in 1996. We were really pleased at the soundproofing. We couldn't hear anything in the hallways or next door.
Food: The food was excellent. Great variety, and with healthy choices. I wasn't sure I'd like the single large restaurant concept, but grew to love it. There was always an array of good choices. The soups were hot and always spiced right (not salty), the vegetables were crisp, and not overcooked, and the sauces were first rate. The fish was very fresh, as were the salads. Only complaint the steak was just OK. It was cooked perfectly to order, but was a little tough. In general, I'd compare the food to a first rate restaurant. Some of it was gourmet; some of it was simple and pleasing. The desserts and breads were really exciting.
Fitness; Great fitness center. Beautiful spa. Up to date machines, only had to wait for a machine once twice and I used the machines everyday.
Pools: The solarium is awesome! We loved the enclosed, retractable roof. Crepes poolside, with nice whirlpools. I saw the crew drain and clean the pools regularly late at night. Can't say enough good things about the solarium. So relaxing. At times, you had to hunt for the most desirable loungers, but you could always get a chair and there was always availability on other decks. Loved the fantail deck. My wife thought the solarium was the finest quality of the ship.
Entertainment: a very pleasant surprise. I didn't want to go at first. I went just to accompany my Dad. The bookings were very high quality. A number of nights, there were standing ovations. I loved a Beatles tribute band. Also laughed very hard at a comedian/juggler. You can tell RCI put a lot of thought into matching the entertainment with this audience. The dance numbers by the in-house performers were elaborate, energetic and well done. Gorgeous theater, with plenty of seating even if you came at the last minute. This was not the Lawrence Welk type stuff I expected. First rate.
Ports. Wow. Lisbon, Costa del Sol, South of France, Italy including Rome, Corfu in Greece, Split in Croatia, and incomparable Venice. Every day was thrilling. My only complaint was a long line to get back on the ship in Barcelona. Every other day it was "easy on, easy off." Well organized. We only tendered in one port, and it was not a problem at all. Unmatchable itinerary!
Crew: this is a happy ship. A number of the waiters have been with RCI for decades, and this ship for many years. The head waiters were especially caring and professional. My father, who is demanding, was entirely satisfied. My wife and were amazed. The waiters even learned your dining and drinking preferences, and without being asked, prepared the meal with them in mind. For me, that meant hot peppers were already on the table, and the chef made a hot sauce for me. The stateroom attendants worked very hard, and did a perfect job. Loved the towel sculptures.
In general, the ship felt spacious and was well decorated nothing old. Everyone we talked was impressed. We met a lot of cruisers who have travelled with this ship several times. It's the smallest of the big shops (only about 2,000 guests). I highly recommend it. Splendour did everything to a very high standard. You will love this trip.